Parks & Recreation Master & Strategic Plans

Parks and Recreation is dedicated to inspiring individuals to imagine and pursue greatness by building community and enriching life through parks, programs and play. Taking in our community's changing needs and demographics, the Your Parks, Our Future Master Plan and Strategy Plan represents the culmination of the master planning process and will provide guidance for parks, recreation, open space, and trails in Lexington for the next ten years and beyond.

Your Parks, Our Future Master Plan

2024 Lexington Parks Strategic Plan Update Highlights

  • Two key components: 1) review/update vision, mission, core values, goals and objectives; 2) update the 198 objectives in the Action Plan
  • New Vision: Inspire imagination and exploration (mission, core values, goals and objectives remained the same)
  • Accomplishments: Of the original 198 strategies – 95 had documented or demonstrated progress; 40 were complete; the remainder are ongoing. In addition, 18 original strategies were eliminated and 43 were modified
  • Details on accomplishments are found on pages 7-11 if you want to deep dive and pick one (or more) associated to each of the goals 
  • The 2018 Parks and Recreation Master Plan estimated it could cost approximately $100 million dollars to implement all the park improvement recommendations in the plan. Eliminating projects completed over the last 5 years or funded to be completed soon (and adjusted for the last 6 years of inflation) the revised estimate of needed park improvements is now estimated at $123 million.
  • Using a 20 year horizon for funding and completion of projects, the plan further estimated that about $8.5 million dollars per year would be required to complete the plan.
  • The next update to the Strategic Plan will begin in 2028, when the Park System Master Plan will also be ready to be updated.

What you had to say

The most important part of the Your Parks, Our Future Master Plan is you! Hundreds of community members let us know what they want to see from their Parks & Recreation Department through face to face conversations, online surveys and public meetings. Below are the results 

Full Results

Survey & Public Input Summary

Survey Summary

How we get there

Our Your Parks, Our Future Master Plan identified several areas of strategic priority that will guide advancement over the next three to five years.

Great Spaces

  • Connect: Plan, develop and maintain spaces that align with community plans, services and points of interest.
  • Gather: Provide safe and welcoming spaces that promote a sense of community.
  • Balance: Offer parks, facilities and services that balance active and passive functions within developed and natural areas.
  • Focus short-term capital improvements on renovation/replacement of existing, key facilities (playgrounds, game courts, trails, picnic shelters, restrooms, etc.).

  • Increase the population served within a 10-minute walk of a Neighborhood Park (or larger) from the current 40% to 65% through development of existing parkland, new parks in growing areas (including developer contributions), and improved access to existing parks.

  • Increase the population served within a five-minute drive of a Community Park (or larger) from the current 70% to 85% through development of existing parkland and new parks in growing areas.

  • Improve and expand underutilized parks (add features) in underserved areas throughout Lexington to improve the level of park service in these areas.

  • Prioritize facility and program improvements in locations with high levels of social need.6.Increase availability of multi-use trail loops within parks, providing easy access to these facilities throughout Lexington.

  • Increase availability of sports fields for open play, youth and adult programs, and tournament hosting.

Great Experiences

  • Community Impact: Contribute wellness and culture through parks and programs.
  • Safety: Coordinate with public safety and partners to provide safe and secure settings.
  • Innovation: Provide creative programs and events that reflect trends and community desires.
  • Increase accessibility of all facilities and programs, including ADA accessibility, information, and availability.
  • Explore multiple uses for all venues to maximize the community’s ability to utilize the city’s park resources (e.g., use of golf courses for alternate activities such as FootGolf, birding, walking, nature programs, pickleball on tennis courts, cross country in open areas, etc.).
  • Expand program  and  event  offerings  to  meet  the  needs  of  the  growing  population  with  special consideration to new and innovative strategies for neighborhood and regional programs.
  • Add shade in the form of trees and structures throughout Lexington for facilities such as seating areas and playgrounds.

Great Stewardship

  • Preservation and Conservation: Conserve significant historical, natural and cultural resources within parks.
  • Acquisition: Develop a balanced park acquisition strategy to secure open space for future generations.
  • Land Management: Utilize best practices for natural resource management.
  • Seek a  balance  for  parkland  development,  including  a  50%/50%  split  between  land  developed  for recreational use and land remaining in its natural state. Restore underused parklands to natural areas (including reduction/elimination of mowing and tree canopy improvements) and maintain natural areas in future parks.
  • Implement conservation policies and sustainable practices for development and management of park properties.

Great Engagement

  • Access: Engage citizens to identify needs and barriers to park experiences.
  • Community Engagement: Raise awareness to promote, plan and improve the quality of parks and programs.
  • Collaboration: Foster partnerships to meet the current and future needs of parks and recreation.
  • Continuously evaluate and implement new technologies to provide contemporary services (Wi-Fi, mobile friendly platforms, social media, etc.) expected by Lexington residents.
  • Provide additional  staff  and  resources  to  continue  to  expand  marketing  efforts  to  increase  public knowledge of parks, facilities, and programs available, utilizing diverse types of media.

Great Leadership

  • People: Develop an efficient organization of valued staff and volunteers.
  • Process: Routinely evaluate facilities, services and systems.
  • Finances: Implement operational practices to improve financial sustainability.
  • Increase cost recovery of the division operating budget from 27% to 40% within 10 years by utilizing revenue generation and operations cost reduction tactics described in this master plan.
  • Reduce the operating deficit of the golf courses through the implementation of recommendations of the J.J. Keegan Golf Presentation.
  • Establish and  nurture  partnerships  to  increase  the  availability  of  both  facilities  and  programs  and  to promote outreach, participation, fitness, and volunteerism.
  • Continually monitor national and regional trends in parks and recreation facilities and programs for their applicability in Lexington.
  • Begin implementation of the recently completed Bike and Pedestrian Plan to improve access to a variety of destinations (e.g., parks, schools, workplaces, business districts).